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It’s one thing to have a good portion of the U.S. population without health insurance. What happens when we run out of sugar and can’t make Kripy Kreme doughnuts? The Wall Street Journal reports today that some companies are saying the country could “virtually run out of sugar” unless the Obama administration eases import restrictions. The big sugar-using companies — Hersheys and all the breakfast cereal makers — have sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack asking that the government increase the sugar import quota.

“Acording to USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, the United States will end the next fiscal year with less than 13 days’ worth of sugar on hand, unless imports are increased,” the letter warns. “If this forcast is accurate, our nation will virtually run out of sugar.” Meanwhile, sugar prices are going up, rising from less than ten cents a pound in 2008 to 23 cents Wednesday, a 28-year high.

The world is wolfing down more sugar than it is producing. One reason, according to the Journal, is that “Brazil is diverting huge amounts of its cane crop to making ethanol fuel.” U.S. firms make the same complaint about this country’s corn production, that too much is going to fuel and not enough to Lucky Charms and Coco Puffs.

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